Thursday, October 17, 2019


A Striking Contrast:  Conservative gratitude versus Leftist hate
 
President Trump delivered a rousing pro-America speech at his rally in Minneapolis Thursday night!

He presented the 2020 election as a stark choice, and correctly so in my view, between those who want to preserve religious liberty, free markets, the sanctity of life, our Second Amendment rights, and our national sovereignty against those demanding open borders, abortion-on-demand, socialism, and gun control.

I was particularly struck by how the president talked at length about what it is like to be commander-in-chief. It involves regular trips to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, which are rarely covered by the media. On those visits, the president sees firsthand the horrific wounds our soldiers endure.

It involves going to Dover Air Force Base to receive the bodies of fallen heroes. It involves writing personal letters, not form letters, to every family who loses a loved one serving in the military.

It was a side of the president people don’t see very often. When I am at the White House, I see him in a very different mood than what is presented by the media. He is a much more compassionate man than the left would like you to believe.

Sadly, there was violence after the rally ended. MAGA hats were burned. Trump supporters were assaulted. Leftists waved the flag of communist China. Police officers had to create a path for cars to leave because demonstrators were attacking vehicles in the parking garage.

It was a striking contrast. Inside the Target Center, Trump praised our brave men and women in uniform, our soldiers, and police officers. He defended our flag and our country.

Outside, the left-wing radicals, the activist base of the Democrat Party, were attacking cops, burning flags, yelling their hatred for America, and assaulting conservatives.

I’m not suggesting that Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren would be part of that crowd. But there’s no question which candidate that crowd would vote for come November, and it won’t be Donald Trump. Nor is that crowd ever denounced by the leadership of the Democrat Party.

On Fox News Thursday night, a Democrat consultant was asked about the violence at the rally. Of course, he insisted it was wrong, but then proceeded to justify the violence by suggesting it was a natural reaction to Trump!

If, after any speech by a leading Democrat, a mob formed outside and began punching people and attacking cars, every network would be running the footage non-stop. Every Republican would be forced to condemn it on the record.

But no elected Democrat today will be asked to condemn what happened on the streets of Minneapolis Thursday night. And I won’t hold my breath waiting for any progressives to voluntarily distance themselves from the protests.

SOURCE 

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Elections Watchdog Seeks Answers in Michigan Voter Fraud Case

A Michigan municipal election official being charged with six felonies in the discarding of nearly 200 votes is not likely an indication of voting problems nationally, election experts say. But an election integrity watchdog still wants to get to the bottom of the matter.

“Whether it changed the outcome is not really an issue when you are talking about civil rights. What does matter is canceling votes,” J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “The Justice Department needs to carefully scrutinize what votes were canceled and why she would have improperly discarded those 193 [votes].”

Michigan State Police arrested Southfield City Clerk Sherikia Hawkins in late September on charges related to altering or throwing away 193 absentee ballots.

The nonprofit Public Interest Legal Foundation made a public records request to find out what happened to the absentee ballots, from the time the voters applied for them through the time the ballots were discarded and altered to the time the ballots were reinstated and counted.

This type of election fraud is not likely widespread, because it was fairly simple to unravel, Adams said.

“This was caught because the votes cast did not equal the ballot tallies,” Adams said.

Hawkins was charged with falsifying election returns, which carries a maximum five-year sentence and a $1,000 fine. She also was charged with forgery of a public record, which carries a maximum 14-year sentence; misconduct in office, which carries a maximum five-year penalty; and three counts of using a computer to commit a crime, each with a maximum seven-year sentence.

After posting a $15,000 bond, Hawkins is set for another court hearing on Oct. 15.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the charges against Hawkins, a fellow Democrat, at a late September press conference.

In May, at the Michigan Democratic Party’s Legacy Dinner, the party gave Hawkins its Dingell-Levin Award. The award is named for two former longtime Democratic members of Congress.

There are “only two possibilities,” Adams said. “Either this Michigan city had an incompetent election official, or two, she didn’t like those 193 voters for some reason and decided to cancel them out.”

Michigan state officials said all votes were ultimately counted and that no election results were altered.

Election Officials and Fraud

Most jurisdictions have safeguards in place to prevent this type of fraud by election officials, said Susannah Goodman, director of the election security program at Common Cause, a government watchdog group.

“You don’t see [election official fraud] very often,” Goodman told The Daily Signal. “If a person knows how the system works, they know they will be caught. Reconciliation is pretty basic. If someone is a sophisticated fraudster, why would they do the one thing they should know will be checked and cross-checked?”

Since 2013, there have been three criminal convictions of election officials trying to alter vote counts, according to The Heritage Foundation’s voter fraud database.

A Miami-Dade County, Florida, elections department official pleaded guilty to filling out the mail-in ballots of other voters in favor of a Republican mayoral candidate in the November 2016 election. An Canton, Mississippi, elections committee member was convicted in 2013 of stealing a ballot box. A Clackamas County, Oregon, election official pleaded guilty to altering a ballot in 2013.

In 2007, the Justice Department brought a civil penalty against Ike Brown, a former superintendent of Democratic primary elections in Noxubee County, Mississippi, for manipulating ballots for race-based reasons.

“The kind of post-election audit we are pushing for has to do with vote tabulation and providing a statistically significant number of paper ballots for the audit to limit the risk of electing the wrong person,” said Common Cause’s Goodman.

The city of Southfield, a suburb of Detroit, put Hawkins on administrative leave after her Sept. 23 arrest.

“The City does not have all of the facts at this time, and there will be no rush to judgment,” said a public statement released by city spokesman Michael Manion. “The City will also be conducting a thorough internal investigation and review of these charges. After the City has examined the underlying facts of this matter, we will explore all appropriate and legal avenues to protect the voting process and rights of the Southfield citizenry. Mrs. Hawkins will be on administrative leave with pay at this time.”

Southfield Deputy City Clerk Nicole Humphries said, “The city clerk’s office is still functioning.”

“If they submitted a [Freedom of Information Act] request, we will be responding,” she told The Daily Signal regarding the Public Interest Legal Foundation’s records request.

‘Noticeably Silent’

Adams, of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, said actions occurred that, had they not been corrected, would have meant votes didn’t count. So, he said, it’s puzzling that groups that typically speak out against voter suppression have not spoken out in this case.

“Voter suppression is a fake term. It’s not in the law. The proper term is vote denial,” Adams said. “The voting rights groups are noticeably silent on this case. They don’t show up talking about an actual case of voting denial.”

The Daily Signal contacted several organizations that have opposed policies they labeled as “voter suppression” about concerns over the Michigan case.

One of the newest such groups is Fair Fight Action, which was started by former Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams after her narrow loss in the 2018 Georgia governor’s race.

The group’s website says, “Efforts to discourage and disenfranchise voters—in voter registration, ballot access, or counting of votes—have a catastrophic effect on our democracy and our communities.”

The League of Women Voters says, “We work year-round to combat voter suppression through advocacy, grassroots organizing, legal action, and public education.”

Project Vote warns against “illegal and cynical attempts to suppress the vote and manipulate voters,” adding that “[a]mong the strategies used are voter intimidation and voter challenges.”

Brennan Center for Justice spokesman Derek Rosenfeld said the organization had no comment. But its website says, “Vote suppression has a long and ugly history in the U.S., and over the last two decades, it has resurfaced with a vengeance. Through research, lawsuits, and advocacy, we are fighting vote suppression on every front.”

The silence could be that some of these groups don’t want to acknowledge election fraud, said Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the election law reform initiative at The Heritage Foundation. Or, he said, it could be because Hawkins is a registered Democrat.

“Those 193 votes ultimately counted only because this clerk was caught. Why did the clerk do this? Did she know who they were?” von Spakovsky asked. “Most election officials are honest people who do the right thing, but sometimes election officials do bad things and break the law.”

SOURCE 

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Hillary in form



From Vince Foster and Seth Rich to Jeffrey Epstein, a large number of Clinton associates have died sudden deaths

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Democrats Embrace Cultural Devolution

CNN’s forum for 2020 Democrat presidential candidates to opine on “LGBTQ” issues was yet another in-kind campaign contribution to the DNC. The primacy and promotion of people with various types of gender disorientation in family entertainment is about emotion-based indoctrination. In politics, it’s about appealing to women voters.

So what did the Democrats talk about on CNN? Space won’t permit us to dissect every tendentious twisting of fact or tyrannical policy pronouncement. But here are a few key moments.

Elizabeth Warren literally applauded child abuse. After being introduced along with her mother, billed as “an advocate for transgender youth,” a young girl dressed up as a boy announced, “My name’s Jacob, and I’m a nine-year-old transgender American.” Warren immediately applauded and cheered, “All right, Jacob!” The girl then asked Warren a softball question about her issues in school — a question fed to her by her adult handlers.

A couple of things. First, and again, enabling and encouraging a kid to embrace gender dysphoria — to the point of dressing and “identifying” as the opposite sex, taking hormone-altering drugs that can do permanent damage, or sometimes even having body-altering surgery — is child abuse, plain and simple. If a child identified as a fire truck and wanted to play in the street, running through busy intersections while screaming like a siren, no one would tolerate it. Yet when it comes to innate biology, these “advocates” aid and abet fantasy, including deeply wounding self-harm, in the name of “tolerance.” With incredibly rare exception, all people are born with the “hardware” for one of two genders. That’s the way God made them. “Transgender” is a phony alternate reality that should not be encouraged, especially in kids who haven’t even hit puberty yet, and Warren and every other Democrat should be ashamed for exploiting these kids.

Warren wasn’t done. She also declared that “people who are transgender” — even inmates — are “entitled to medical care,” including sex-reassignment surgery. And of course, “entitled” means American taxpayers would be forced to foot the bill.

Other moments included blatant attacks on Christians who actually believe what the Bible teaches about sex and marriage. Warren bemoaned the “hatefulness” of such Christians. Pete Buttigieg sermonized that Christians who hold to biblical teaching actually make “God smaller.” Says the man who seemingly will only “worship” a god created in his image. Cory Booker complained that people “use religion as a justification for discrimination.” And Beto O'Rourke, who claims to be Catholic, declared that he’d be the one doing the discriminating: “Yes,” he would strip churches of their tax-exempt status for holding to millennia of biblically based Christian doctrine on marriage. We’re just surprised he didn’t say, “Hell yes.”

On a final note, Warren was asked what her response would be to “a supporter [who] says, ‘Senator, I’m old-fashioned, and my faith teaches me that marriage is between one man and one woman.’” Warren gave a very misandrist response: “Well, I’m going to assume it’s a guy who said that. And I’m gonna say, ‘Then just marry one woman. … Assuming you can find one.’”

That insult is quite illustrative of how Democrats look at Americans who hold to traditional values: To them, we’re mouth-breathing Neanderthals who aren’t just wrong, we’re bigoted and hateful — all for holding positions they themselves maintained until the last few years. The hypocritical intolerance is astounding, even if it is par for the course with leftists.

SOURCE 

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IN BRIEF

TALIBAN PEACE TALKS: "U.S. officials and representatives of the Afghan Taliban have begun discussing ways to revive a peace process after talks fell apart last month." (The Wall Street Journal)

GETTING ITS ACT TOGETHER: Mexico halts caravan of 2,000 migrants bound for U.S. (Fox News)

NANNY-STATE COURTS — COMING SOON TO AMERICA? Canadian court strips father of rights, allowing teen to transition against his wishes (The Daily Signal)

"NEXT!" "Democratic House committee chairmen Elijah Cummings, Eliot Engel, and Adam Schiff sent a letter Thursday to Energy Secretary Rick Perry alerting him to a subpoena demanding documents related to their impeachment inquiry into President Trump's dealings in Ukraine — the ninth subpoena issued so far." (National Review)

BIRDS OF A FEATHER: Ronan Farrow book claims Hillary Clinton pressured Farrow to drop Harvey Weinstein investigation (The Daily Wire)

"PUBLIC CHARGE" RULE BLOCKED: "Under the rule," The Hill reports, "any immigrant who receives at least one designated public benefit — including Medicaid, food stamps, welfare or public housing vouchers — for more than 12 months within any three-year period will be considered a 'public charge' and will be more likely to be denied a green card by immigration officials." Federal Judge George Daniels "said the Trump administration likely exceeded its authority."

GOWDY PRECLUDED: As a corollary of lobbying rules, "a deal that [Trump's legal team] had reached with former South Carolina Republican Representative Trey Gowdy fell through," The Daily Wire reports.

DUBIOUS TIMING: Hunter Biden stepping down from Chinese firm, vows no foreign work if father wins in 2020 (The Hill)

SYRIA UPDATE: "Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed Sunday that President Trump has ordered a larger withdrawal of U.S. forces from northeastern Syria than was previously indicated," according to The Hill. Meanwhile, Fox News says, "Fresh airstrikes from Turkey reportedly targeted civilians and a group of foreign reporters in the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ayn."

POWER RESTORED: "PG&E Corp. crews have restored power to more than 700,000 homes and businesses in California that had been subjected to a deliberate blackout," The Sacramento Bee reports. Ironically, many Californians are discovering that solar panels don't work in blackouts.

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019


"Diversity" is a snark

"Time" magazine has a long-winded article under the heading: Diversity has become a booming business. So where are the results?  It goes on to set out the great efforts and large sums that have been devoted to the cause.  One might summarize their message as: "Never in the field of human endeavor has so much been done by so many for so little".

And they are perfectly right.  Any psychometrician could explain it to you.  As the old proverb says: "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear".  Blacks, Hispanics and whites all have their own characteristics and fields of expertise and you can't shoehorn the minority groups into white characteristics and fields of expertise.  Seldom the twain shall meet.

There is a dreaded two letter word I could mention here but I think it suffices that conservatives have for over a century opposed Leftist claims of human malleability by the counter-claim that much in human behavior is genetically determined -- and therefore immutable:  "Human nature". And the research in behavior genetics has resoundingly supported the conservative contention. It's truly amazing how much of our behavior is genetically inherited.

One simply has to apply that knowledge to the "diversity" efforts to understand what is going on. Diversity efforts are undoubtedly an attempt to impose some of the characteristic  behaviours of whites onto the minorities. It was bound to fail. To put it as succinctly as I can:  You will rarely make a white man out of a black.

And why should we make that racist attempt?  Members of all the groups have liberty to behave as they want so let them go on doing what they want to do and stop trying to shoehorn them into a mould that doesn't fit.  Try liberty instead of racism.

But the "Time" magazine solution to the problem that the Left have created is typical Leftist brainlessness: The failure of diversity efforts is due to evil men.  I quote: It is due to "a willful negation of our shared humanity". In other words, "We're all racists, you know".  A prime example of the pot calling the kettle black -- JR.

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Portugal’s socialist miracle? Pull the other one

The newly re-elected centre left has presided over austerity and privatisation.

Portuguese voters went to the polls on Sunday and returned the incumbent Socialist Party – and prime minister Antonio Costa – with an increased share of the vote, much as commentators expected.

In late 2015, the centre-left Socialist Party formed a minority government with the support of the Portuguese Communist Party and the Ecologist Party. Since then, sections of the international media have been singing the praises of Portugal’s government. The Financial Times, Der Spiegel, the Atlantic, the New Statesman and many others have hailed Europe’s supposedly ‘socialist success story’. Some left-wing Remainers see it as a model for the UK to emulate or see it as an antidote to right-wing populism. But is Portugal really a success story? And what exactly is socialist about it?

Portugal’s economic performance certainly looks good on paper. GDP, GDP per capita and GDP growth are all up. Inflation is also under control and unemployment and government debt are both down. However, while some media outlets credit the government’s ostensibly left-wing policies for these results, all of these figures (apart from government debt) actually started improving under the previous centre-right administration. (Portuguese voters duly rewarded the then-incumbent centre-right Social Democratic Party with the highest vote share in 2015, but it was unable to form a government, leading the Socialists to take the reins in a leftish alliance.)

So what are the Socialist Party’s achievements in government? It certainly has pursued some traditionally left-wing policies, including raising the minimum wage, pensions and some social benefits. But it has also embarked on or maintained a range of measures that are positively anti-socialist.

The government has committed itself to the EU’s tight rules on spending. Contrary to the international narrative that Portugal has ‘cast aside austerity’ – which is impossible as a Eurozone member – Portugal has actually embraced ‘austerity lite’. Rises in wages and benefits have come at the cost of public investment. According to an article in the Nation, Portugal had the lowest level of public investment in the Eurozone in 2018. As a result, its universities are almost bankrupt, the health system is understaffed and underfunded, and over half of its railways are in a bad or mediocre condition.

The government’s lack of investment in the fire and forest services has also been criticised by unions, particularly in the wake of the June 2017 wildfires, which killed 66 people and injured 204 – the deadliest fires in the country to date. Earlier this year, public funds were, however, found to bail out a private bank, Novo Banco, at a cost of €1.6 billion.

The Socialist Party has also opted to keep and extend a number of the previous centre-right government’s policies. Privatisation, rampant under the previous administration, has continued apace. The Socialists have sold a number of publicly owned companies and assets to foreign buyers from China and elsewhere. The current government has also refused to scrap the golden-visa programme. The programme, which allows wealthy foreigners essentially to jump the immigration queue, has failed to deliver the levels of job creation its advocates promised. Instead, it has helped to push up property prices.

In fact, property speculation has been a key driver of Portugal’s rising GDP. As a result, evictions have skyrocketed as landlords take advantage of soaring house prices. Between one and three families are reportedly being evicted every day. In ‘socialist’ Portugal, social housing accounts for just two per cent of the country’s housing stock, compared to 17 per cent in the UK.

While unemployment is down in the official figures, a 2018 report from the University Institute of Lisbon suggests the real figure may be almost 10 percentage points higher. Furthermore, employment conditions have continued to worsen since the Euro crisis, with the proliferation of short-term, low-wage and insecure contracts.

It is no surprise, then, that in his bid for re-election, prime minister António Costa largely sold himself to the Portuguese public as a fiscal conservative rather than a socialist radical. While Costa’s party performed best in Sunday’s elections, it fell short of the majority it had worked for and turnout was the lowest in a General Election since the country’s return to democracy in 1974.

Costa has said he will once again seek the support of one or both parties involved in the previous confidence-and-supply pact. But he also said that he might also hold talks with the PAN (People-Animals-Nature) Party, a minor animal-rights party focused on animal-welfare issues. Such a pact would likely combine the Socialists’ own ‘austerity lite’ with eco-austerity and animal rights (an ideology traditionally treated with scepticism by socialists). All the while, any truly ‘socialist’ programme, should Costa even want to implement one, would be impossible under EU rules.

Whether Portugal’s past few years can be described as a success is up for debate. Portuguese voters have at least given it their lukewarm approval. But there is very little that is socialist in this centre-left, ‘austerity lite’ government.

SOURCE 

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McConnell Slams Dems Over Banana Republic-Style Impeachment Inquiry

Congressional Republican leaders laid into House Democrats over their illegitimate so-called impeachment inquiry that is designed to deprive President Trump of basic procedural fairness and boot him from office at bullet-train speed.

“Overturning the results of an American election requires the highest level of fairness and due process, as it strikes at the core of our democratic process,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wrote on Twitter Oct. 8, as reported by The Hill.

“So far, the House has fallen far short by failing to follow the same basic procedures that it has followed for every other President in our history,” he added.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also weighed in the same day on Twitter.

McCarthy wrote that the president “is right to call out this rushed process because Democrats refuse to protect the transparency and basic fairness that have been integral to previous impeachment proceedings.”

“House Democrats have wanted to undo the results of the 2016 election for three years, and now they’re rushing a sham impeachment process,” he added.

The statements from McConnell and McCarthy came as White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to Democrat leaders in the House accusing them of working to “overturn the results of the 2016 election” and violating the Constitution with “legally unsupported demands” for evidence from Trump administration officials.

“Given that your inquiry lacks any legitimate constitutional foundation, any pretense of fairness, or even the most elementary due process protections, the Executive Branch cannot be expected to participate in it,” Cipollone wrote.

“Because participating in this inquiry under the current unconstitutional posture would inflict lasting institutional harm on the Executive Branch and lasting damage to the separation of powers, you have left the President no choice,” he added.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) replied in histrionic fashion.

“For a while, the President has tried to normalize lawlessness. Now, he is trying to make lawlessness a virtue,” she said. “The White House letter is only the latest attempt to cover up his betrayal of our democracy, and to insist that the President is above the law.”

It was Sept. 24 that Pelosi purported to launch “an official impeachment inquiry” by the House as news spread that President Trump asked the president of Ukraine to assist in a probe into the leftist plot to remove him office, as well as to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son’s shady dealings in that country.

This “official impeachment inquiry” is unprecedented in the annals of presidential impeachment sagas.

Pelosi was in such a frenzied rush to oust Trump she didn’t bother asking the House of Representatives, whose constitutionally-specified duty is to consider impeachment, to go on record on the matter. Even though the House had a recorded vote all three previous times it considered impeaching a U.S. president, Pelosi discarded 151 years of precedent.

Bill Clinton, who was impeached but not convicted in the Senate, went through it.

On Oct. 8, 1998, the House voted 258-176 to approve what is called a “simple resolution” (meaning it affects only one chamber of Congress) authorizing “the House Committee on the Judiciary, acting as a whole or by any subcommittee thereof appointed by the chairman for the purposes hereof and in accordance with the rules of the Committee, to investigate fully and completely whether sufficient grounds exist for the House to exercise its constitutional power to impeach President Clinton.”

Richard Nixon, who probably would have been impeached if he hadn’t resigned, also went through it.

On Feb. 6, 1974, the House voted 410-4 to approve a resolution authorizing “the House Committee on the Judiciary to investigate fully and completely whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to impeach President Richard M. Nixon.”

Even a widely disliked post-Civil War president went through the process. In the end he was impeached but his enemies fell one vote short of convicting him in the Senate.

Abraham Lincoln’s successor, President Andrew Johnson, was afforded due process by the House which voted to initiate the impeachment process. “The Joint Committee on Reconstruction rapidly drafted a resolution of impeachment, which passed the House on February 24, 1868, by a vote of 126 to 47,” according to the U.S. Senate’s history pages. “Immediately, the House proceeded to establish an impeachment committee, appoint managers, and draft articles of impeachment.”

Moving measures through the House at breakneck speed, Americans learned during the Obamacare legislative saga, is a Pelosi specialty. She infamously said during that process that reading the massive bill wasn’t realistic. “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it,” she said.

As this writer argued previously, the only reason not to go through a formal vote on opening an impeachment inquiry is to railroad the president and eliminate the possibility of lawmakers being held accountable by Americans. All Americans, no matter their views on our president, deserve to know where their representatives stand on this all-important issue.

But Democrats don’t care about fairness, or democracy, for that matter.

They are creating “a Star Chamber ‘impeachment’ process fueled by anonymous whistleblowers and selective leaks that is not so much designed to remove the president, though they would if they could, but to manipulate the 2020 election,” William A. Jacobson writes at Legal Insurrection.

Since even before Donald Trump was elected president the Left has been trying to make the normal presidential job-related things he has been doing look abnormal. There were anti-Trump protesters outside the Trump International Hotel in the nation’s capital in the dark wee hours of Nov. 9, 2016, not long after the media called the race for Trump. The manufactured, media-driven mass hysteria directed against Trump has grown exponentially over time.

All the tricks the Democrat-media complex have attempted to force Trump from the White House have failed.

We now know that the plot to use fake intelligence from Russia from a dossier compiled by a Trump-hating British spy to surveil Trump’s campaign and transition team was ordered by then-President Barack Hussein Obama. That phony dossier paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee was used to fraudulently obtain surveillance warrants from the secret U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

On Oct. 2 former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admitted to CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Obama directed the intelligence community to spy on Trump, a move that “set off a whole sequence of events” that led to semi-senile former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s anticlimactic report on the Left’s beloved Russian electoral collusion conspiracy theory, the Washington Sentinel reports.

“One point I’d like to make, Anderson, that I don’t think has come up very much before, and I’m alluding now to the president’s criticism of President Obama for all that he did or didn’t do before he left office with respect to the Russian meddling. If it weren’t for President Obama, we might not have done the intelligence community assessment that we did that set off a whole sequence of events which are still unfolding today, notably, Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation.”

The rest of the media ignored this damning admission from Clapper so they could continue bashing Trump.

And the phony impeachment process continues.

SOURCE 

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IN BRIEF

LEGAL TEAM: The Washington Times reports, "Former Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy has been tapped to serve as outside counsel to President Donald Trump as the House impeachment inquiry expands."

PROFILES OF THE AMERICAN SPIRIT: Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to former Attorney General Edwin Meese (CNSNews.com)

TERRORISM REAWAKENED: After a lull, Islamist terrorism in Europe returns with a vengeance (The Daily Signal)

DISTRICT OF CONFORMITY: "Is this the last time we can celebrate Columbus Day? A wave of cities have decided to remove the holiday from the calendar and replace it with 'Indigenous Peoples' Day," reports The Daily Signal's Jarrett Stepman. That now includes Washington, DC, which was named after ... Christopher Columbus.

JUST TAKE MY WORD FOR IT: "Lawyers for the CIA officer whose whistleblower complaint helped ignite an impeachment inquiry into President Trump have asked Congress whether their client could submit testimony in writing instead of appearing in person." (The Wall Street Journal)

FELON VOTES: The Hill reports that 22,000 felony convicts have had their voting rights restored by Gov. Ralph Northam, which Democrats hope will turn the state supremely blue.

MORE PLANNED PARENTHOOD DECEPTION: "An arson attack on a Planned Parenthood facility that was reported as a hate crime inspired by undercover videos was actually an incident of domestic violence, a senior executive of the organization has been forced to admit in a San Francisco court room." (The Daily Wire)

PRIORITIES: California Gov. Gavin Newsom signs ban on small plastic bottles in hotels — as blackouts batter that state's economy (National Review)

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019


Contrived generational wars disguise the failure of the American Dream

The Leftist lady writing below has an interesting point.  She says that naming and describing "generations" (generation X, generation Y etc) serves to deflect attention away from the fact that incomes have been static for many years in real terms.  She is also undoubtedlty right that assigning characteristics to a whole generation of people is a vast over-generalization.

She takes a few potshots at Trump along the way, as one expects of almost any American Leftist, but she misses the big picture.  Trump has actually solved the problem she complains of.  In the Trump economy wages are rising at long last.

So why were incomes so static for so long?   They were in fact less static than it seems.  There have been large qualitative improvenments in most products. A car today will for instance be a lot safer, more economical and more reliable than the rattletrap you might have bought in 1950.  So your money buys better even if it does not buy more.

Nonetheless, Trump shows us what can be done and we need to ask why did that not happen sooner.   The answer is perfectly clear. The destructive Left  have been in power quite a lot since WWII and they have succeeded in their destructive aims.  They have hobbled the wealth creators -- business -- in all sorts of ways, destroying jobs and keeping prices high.  And the intervening Repiublican administrations have not been radical enough to destroy much of what the Left have put in place.

So it needed  a truly radical reformer to take the shackles off business and get business activity roaring.  Trump is that reformer.  Businessmen have been so encouraged by Trump that they have regularly created hundreds of thousands of new jobs -- to the point that they have difficulty getting the employees they need for their enterprises.  There is a abor shortage.  And when there is a labor shortage employers offer higher wages to ensure they get the workers they need. Trump unleashed capitalism, which is the only way of getting rising incomes across the board.


Bill Gates was born in 1955. That makes him what is commonly called a boomer. Rene Lavoie was also born in 1955. The Globe recently recounted the problems that led this white Army vet to spend time in Boston’s homeless shelters. According to the principal investigator of a recent study, Dennis Culhane, many people of Lavoie’s age are indeed part of a boom — “a boom in aging homeless people.” They were “less well educated people who faced economic challenges in their youth — falling wages and rising housing costs — and never recovered financially. . . . Now in their 50s and 60s, they are biologically older than most people their age. . . . The average lifespan for a homeless person is 64.”

Unlike Gates’s co-billionaires in the .01 percent, 29 percent of people 55 and over have nothing at all saved for retirement, according to the Government Accountability Office, and many of the rest have little. Ageism in the workforce is one reason they lose a job and then can’t find an equally good one — or find any work at all. Boomers are often treated as “deadwood.” Corporations drop them by the thousands. Even Xers are now old enough to be at risk of having their resumes discarded. When people suffering from middle ageism stop looking for work they are omitted from the unemployment data. At midlife, some submit to deaths of despair.

Succeeding cohorts (all containing the same disparities — of class, race, gender, and education) have also been treated as if they were a single human with a character flaw. During the 1990s recessions, when the so-called Xers couldn’t find work, they too were branded with a slur — “slackers” — while boomers were represented as the horde bullies who held onto all the good jobs.

The baleful technique is still at work today. Given the same problem — lack of decent jobs for all ages, especially people without college degrees and people over 50 — it’s the turn of the millennials. One of them complains about the stereotypes, defensively, in Vox: “We demand participation trophies, can’t find jobs, and live with our parents until we’re 30.” His response is to bash — you guessed it — the boomers, who “have a ton of maladaptive personality characteristics.”

In the Atlantic, pundits Niall Ferguson, from the Hoover Institution, and Eyck Freymann defend millennials because their “early working lives were blighted by the financial crisis” — but ignore how home foreclosures, sluggish growth, and job losses also blighted people around Ferguson’s own age (55).

Millennials are supposed to be so ignorant and cruel that they would dismiss old people’s needs because of the boomers’ alleged wealth. “Cutting old-age benefits for boomers would be an easy call if millennials are anywhere on the line of fire,” write the original concoctors of the age-war distraction, Neil Howe and William Strauss, in their latest pandering assault, “Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation.”

We frequently hear that our elders’ retirement needs will “break the bank” despite their lifelong pay-ins. If Republicans manage to destroy the whole system of social trust, cutting Social Security could indeed be one of the dire outcomes of the lies of generational warfare. Otherwise, experts say, its financial failure is not remotely in the cards. For families it has always been the most popular government program, because it provides a measure of dignified independence for older people and a measure of relief for their adult children.

Younger people should support the expansion of Social Security for another reason, writes one millennial who doesn’t take the bait. Nick Guthman argues in The Hill that because of student debt, “Millennials and Generation Z will need Social Security even more than our parents and grandparents do.”

The 2100 Act, now before Congress, would raise the cap on taxable-wage contributions. Conservatives reject this easy fix, but it is overwhelmingly popular with the public.

Manipulating cohort characteristics damages far more than attitudes toward Social Security, bad as the effect of that contrived skepticism could be. Blaming an older generation that is already maligned allows many real perpetrators to smugly hide from their irresponsibility. Will the climate movement find youngsters blaming the boomers for ecological destruction, because some drove big cars? Wouldn’t it be better to turn on the CEOs of Exxon, who hid the dangers of burning fossil fuels that their scientists discovered so thoroughly that few of us knew to stop flying?

Persistent precarity is indeed the historical issue that is obscured by these discourses. The fact of American decline is this: Most people in each generation have had it worse than their parents. According to a report on The State of Working America, the United States lags behind its peer countries in the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) in measurements of father-son mobility. In the United States, the “sons” have been receiving stagnant wages, fewer benefits, jobs in the insecure gig economy. Many women too have lost the progress narrative of rising expectations. That progress narrative, when upward mobility was more widespread, supported the American Dream. It gave hope that democracy would work for increasing numbers.

Don’t blame your parents. Every article manipulating cohort stereotypes lets the government and corporations off the hook for outsourcing abroad, the crash of rust-belt industries, de-unionization, and the decades of cascading downward mobility we now endure. You can’t even want to get justice until you know the true sources of injustice.

HOW DO IMAGINARY reputations and hostile emotions get nailed onto struggling groups, decade after decade, in this pernicious way? Naming each imagined age cohort makes it possible. The process is called reification. Naming makes vague temporal proximity into a thing.

Only the name baby boomers had an adequate demographic and historical reason to exist. These millions were born (from 1946 to 1964) of the relative affluence that spread after World War II. Their numbers did give them unifying experiences as they grew up — made their elders build new schools for them, made their working lives more competitive. Now they are confronted by a president who, after promising not to, is cutting their security and health care in devious ways.

But, even undergoing historical events together, age-peers don’t build the same memories, share the same beliefs, behave uniformly. During Vietnam, some young men were conscripted into the war while others fought to end it. Stark differences likewise mark the current group of young people (unimaginatively called “post-millennials”). Some of them are woke and ready to take on racism, sexism, homophobia, gun control, global warming. At the same age, neo-Nazis are setting fire to synagogues.

Once cohorts are reified by name, the labels become dog-whistles. Envy and fear can divide a nation and abet destructive political changes. Malice can turn one generation against another.

We could mitigate the divisiveness. Editors could stop soliciting age-war articles by second-rate phrasemakers. We ordinary people need to defy the lies, and build intergenerational bonds. Let us understand that capitalist and neoliberal choices have worsened life, for decades, for every later, unequal subculture. And a comforting, unifying cross-age coalition should eject politicians unwilling to maintain and repair our precious communal institutions.

SOURCE 

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The Left to America's Children: Your Past Is Terrible, and Your Future Is Terrible

A rule of life is that everything the left touches it ruins: art, music, Christianity, Judaism, race relations, male-female relations, universities, high schools, elementary schools, late-night comedy, sports, liberty, journalism, the Boy Scouts, national economies, language and everything else it influences.

The left, not liberalism. (I have written a column and done a PragerU video on the differences between liberalism and leftism.)

To this list, we can now add childhood and children.

1. The left robs children of their innocence and has helped produce an unprecedented number of anxious and depressed young people.

Most of us are aware of how the left prematurely introduced sexuality into young children's lives under the guise of "sex education." That was just the beginning. Then the left changed same-sex college dorms, which had been the norm throughout American history, into coed dorms on virtually every American campus. Then came coed bathrooms. And just in case college students were not thinking about -- or having enough -- sex, the left introduced sex columns in college newspapers and "sex week" on virtually every college campus. One is more graphic than the other. After reading a college newspaper sex column or experiencing the college's sex week, a student could easily conclude that without having experienced a menage a trois and mastering cunnilingus or fellatio techniques, life is neither exciting nor fulfilling.

There are many reasons a greater percentage of college students are more depressed than ever before. But the immersion in loveless and romance-less sex is undoubtedly one of them. That is what contributes to the especially high rate of female depression on campuses.

The left hypersexualized colleges and now laments that colleges are all filled with a "rape culture."

It's Disgusting What the Climate Panic Brigade Is Doing to Greta Thunberg

2. The left has devalued marriage.

An unprecedentedly large percentage of young Americans are not married, and more of them than ever do not consider marriage important. The left has indoctrinated a generation (or two) of young Americans into believing that marriage is unimportant -- career alone is the road to a meaningful life for both men and women. Throughout American history, until the left took over the culture and universities beginning in the 1960s, it was a given, as Frank Sinatra sang, that "love and marriage ... go together like a horse and carriage."

3. The left has devalued having children.

The left is ambivalent and often hostile to people having children. That's why people on the left have the fewest children of all political and religious groups.

The latest reason not to have children is that much of humanity is doomed if global warming is not immediately reversed. But since the 1970s, the left has offered other reasons not to have children including that the world would not produce nearly enough food and other basic resources to sustain the growing world population. Thus began the zero population growth (ZPG) movement.

But the left's ambivalence over having children isn't just hysteria over too many people, lack of food or global warming. Many people on the left (again, unlike liberals or conservatives) just don't particularly want kids. Children are a nuisance: They interfere with one's career; they cost too much; and dogs and cats are perfectly acceptable substitutes.

In sum, the left doesn't particularly like children.

4. The left is ruining the childhood of many children by depriving them of the joys and excitement of growing into men and women.

The left has invented a new idea in history: that human beings are not born male or female but are "assigned" their sex at birth by sexist parents, physicians and a society that is not yet "woke" to this "fact." In schools throughout America, teachers are told to no longer call their students "boys" and "girls," just "students," lest they impose a gender identity on them. Mattel has released a doll that has no gender. A New York Times columnist whose photo shows him with a beard has requested that his readers refer to him only as "they," as he believes gender is useless. Teenage girls who declare themselves boys are allowed to have their breasts surgically removed without their parents' permission. Divorced parents who tell their 5-year-old male child who feels he is a girl that he is a boy risk losing custody or parental rights if the other parent affirms the child is a girl. Girls who compete in sports against boys who identify as females and complain that they lose unfairly are attacked as "transphobic."

5. The left has convinced innumerable young Americans that their past is terrible and their future is terrible.

The left tells American children that their past -- the American past -- is shameful and their future is even worse: They will likely die prematurely as a result of global warming.

Whatever the left touches it ruins. The latest example is children.

SOURCE 

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The Washington Post circles the wagons for its favorite candidate, Elizabeth Warren

On Tuesday, our Thomas Gallatin noted Elizabeth Warren’s latest “victim status” lie — her claim that she was let go from a teaching job in 1971 because she was pregnant. Her oft-told stump story is meant to pull the heart strings of women voters by casting herself as some sort of “Handmaid’s Tale” victim of the patriarchy, but it’s demonstrably not true. She even told the story differently herself before she launched her presidential campaign.

The Washington Free Beacon exposed her lie by obtaining the actual documented records of Warren’s tenure and voluntary resignation from the Riverdale Board of Education. Bottom line: She’s now lying.

Well, The Washington Post couldn’t stand it. The Warren sycophants at the Post wrote not one but two articles attacking the Free Beacon for publishing news that isn’t fake.

“A news report can be narrowly factual and still plenty unfair,” huffed Margaret Sullian in the first article about the Free Beacon’s “smear.” She complained, “Narrowly presented facts without sufficient context can do unfair harm. They can and will be weaponized, falsely regurgitated and twisted beyond recognition.” What does that even mean? The only one falsely regurgitating and twisting is Warren.

The Post’s second article is all about how “Women reality-checked [Warren’s detractors] on social media.” How did they do that? By saying that some woman somewhere in 1971 could have been let go over a pregnancy. Some told their own stories of it happening to them. Never mind that it didn’t happen to Warren.

It’s no wonder the Post stands accused of peddling fake news when the paper reacts like this toward actual, true news.

SOURCE 

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IN BRIEF

FROM FRAUD TO FLING: Ilhan Omar — who allegedly married her own brother to circumvent immigrant laws — files for divorce from second husband amid rumors of an affair (The Daily Wire)

POLLAGANDA: Survey reveals nearly six in 10 Americans think most gun deaths are murders — they're not (The Washington Free Beacon)

NUCLEAR THEATER: Iran to sue U.S. over breach of nuclear deal; lawsuit will go to International Court of Justice (The Washington Free Beacon)

BIPARTISAN REPRIMAND: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joins Ted Cruz, Ben Sasse, and others in letter to NBA condemning league for "betrayal of American values" (National Review)

WOKE PLATITUDES: ESPN bows to China, posts illegitimate propaganda map of communist Asian nation (The Daily Wire)

THE REAL DEM PROBLEM: Democrats’ basic problem as 2020 approaches rapidly is that if they’re betting on events like a recession hitting, they’re running out of time. Unemployment is at a 50-year low at 3.5 percent and 6.1 million jobs have been created since Jan. 2017. At this point in the Obama administration, not a single job had been created. So while economic news remains great, it makes attempts at impeachment look even more politically motivated as voters start to wonder if the push to remove Trump from office before the election is because with the economy and labor markets so strong Democrats don’t think they can beat him at the ballot box and probably don’t deserve to. -- Daily Torch

JUSTICE FOR KAVANAUGH: "Republican senators are pressing the Justice Department to pursue criminal charges against women who made false rape accusations against Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing last year." (The Washington Times)

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here

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Monday, October 14, 2019



What does Kamala Harris stand for?  Brown skin?

She's a shape-shifter

After a promising start in January, her campaign has stalled. While she is in the competition for the nomination, she’s stuck in the mid– single digits in most national and early-state polls and draws modest crowds. Perhaps three dozen people showed up to see her in Waterloo, where they were packed into a few rows in front of the stage so that the large room—an ornate century-old former department store—wouldn’t look so empty.

People like Harris; they just can’t quite place her. Like the acquaintance you recognize but can’t recall how you met, she seems both familiar and yet mysterious. Is she a liberal or a moderate, establishment or populist, reformer or radical? Critics point out that she has flip- flopped or obfuscated her positions on important policy issues, like health care and immigration, and the speeches she could use to define herself often devolve into paeans to unity.

For all that, however, Harris remains in the hunt. She consistently polls among the top five candidates in the jumbled Democratic field, and she has the financial resources to remain viable. Her campaign raised $11.6 million in the quarter ending Sept. 30—a respectable haul, although far short of what some other front runners pulled in. As more long-shot candidates bow out of the race, campaign officials expect Harris to benefit from voters’ renewed focus. With a little luck, they say, she still has a fairly clear path to the nomination.

Among the top-polling Democrats, some churn seems inevitable. Former Vice President Joe Biden remains the apparent front runner, but his unsteady debate performances and shambling campaign have many insiders convinced he’s on the brink of collapse. When and if that happens, the next leading candidates, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, could face a rebellion from mainstream Democrats who see them as too left-wing. In such a world, Harris would be well positioned as the alternative: a practical idealist with undeniable political skills and a respected track record of problem solving rather than grandstanding. As a 54-year-old black woman, she also offers a compelling profile for Democrats hungry for diversity and fresh faces. Among the top-tier candidates, who also include Pete Buttigieg, she is one of two women and the only person of color. And she’s younger than the three septuagenarian front runners by a decade and a half.

Criminal-justice reformers charge that Harris is cautious at best and hypocritical at worst, an ambitious pol who wants to have it both ways and lacks the guts to pursue bold reforms. A new wave of progressive DAs like Philadelphia’s Larry Krasner has gone much further than Harris ever did, with initiatives like restricting the use of cash bail, which reformers say unfairly penalizes the poor while allowing the rich to buy their way out of jail. “There’s sort of a laundry list for what it means to be a progressive prosecutor, and she doesn’t check a single one of the boxes,” says Lara Bazelon, a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law. “At least she didn’t when she was an actual prosecutor and she was in a position to do something to make the system more fair.”

Harris, Bazelon notes, dismissed the idea of legalizing marijuana as recently as 2014, but now that it’s popular she supports it. “That seems to be a theme: once she’s not in any sort of political risk, and there’s a consensus that a reform is a good thing, she’s behind it,” Bazelon said. “But when it’s time to be bold and do the right thing, she doesn’t.”

Since her election to the Senate in 2016, Harris has thrilled liberal audiences with her punishing interrogations of Trump Administration officials. She made former Attorney General Jeff Sessions blanch and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh squirm. And in May, she deftly filleted the current Attorney General, William Barr, asking him, “Has the President or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone?” Barr was reduced to stuttering. He wouldn’t or couldn’t answer. In recent weeks, the clip has gone viral again as new questions have arisen about Barr’s involvement in the President’s political pressuring of foreign governments.

Sitting in the office in Los Angeles, Harris says she asked that question on a prosecutor’s hunch. “It has become clear to me that these are the kinds of questions you have to ask members of this Administration,” she says. “What kind of unethical requests has this President made of you? I knew by instinct and by example that it is not beyond him to think that America’s justice system is his personal apparatus for political gain. He’s made that quite clear.”

Various commentators have found Harris elusive, and she can be hard to pin down on policy positions. Early in her presidential campaign she called for abolishing private health insurance, then took it back, then later released a health care plan that would be government- run but allow for both public and private health insurance. In the first debate, Harris scored a clean hit on Biden with her attack on his opposition to federally mandated busing in the 1970s, and surged in the polls. But in the ensuing days she couldn’t definitively describe her own position on busing. When I asked her what ought to be done about the ongoing segregation of public schools, she spent several minutes discussing the need to “speak the truth about all of this,” before finally settling on a prescription: “To deal with this issue,” she said, “we need to collect the data and then we need to expose it.”

By upbringing and orientation, Harris seems to have a strong sense of right and wrong and a fierce drive to fight injustice, coupled with virtually no largescale policy instincts. Presented with a problem, she looks for ways to solve it, starting with data, guided by few firm ideological convictions. “All these grand ideas that academics and so many have about how you’re going to transform the world,” she says. “But, you know, pay attention to the basics.”

Perhaps, in these days of brutal ideological combat, that kind of pragmatism could be sold as refreshing. But in Harris’ case it seems to be having the opposite effect. Some of the attendees at her events in Iowa told me they don’t think she’s progressive enough; others said she strikes them as too far left. “She hasn’t gone far enough to get the activists behind her, but she’s gone too far for some of the moderates,” says Larry Gerston, a professor emeritus of political science at San Jose State University. “So she’s in kind of a no-person’s-land in terms of having a good base.” And yet, polls indicate that Democratic voters still want to like her—if only they can figure out what she’s about.

More HERE 

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Reactions to My Tweet Reveal the Ignorant Brutality of Young Socialists and Communists

Mike Gonzalez

An eye-opening social experiment unfolded on my Twitter feed over the past several days that reveals a lot about America’s new brand of young communists and socialists.

Not to bury the lede: Yes, they are still as repugnantly brutal as their predecessors in St. Petersburg and Phnom Penh—but today they add ignorance and infantilism to the toxic mix.

In other words, it is their professors who are to be blamed. Our young socialists are simply the puppies that Napoleon took away in the beginning of George Orwell’s novella “Animal Farm” and then unleashed on Snowball later on in the book.

Our beef is with today’s Napoleon—that is, the former 1960s radicals who have taken over America’s faculties and indoctrinated America’s youth.

Platforms such as Tumblr and Twitter have amplified the problem by becoming breeding grounds where misinformation and socialist propaganda flourish. Far from keeping to their own dark corners of the internet, the young Marxists also have learned how to weaponize their collective power to bully and harass users who dare disagree.

Here’s what happened. On Oct. 1, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, that is, the day communist rule was formalized over the planet’s most populous country, I sent out this tweet:

"A landlord murdered at the start of the People’s Republic of China. Nothing to celebrate in 70 years of communism"

The tweet, as you can see, depicts the cruelty that communists visit upon the societies they take over. It has always been thus, from the cold-blooded murder of the Russian tsar’s young children, the massacre of kulaks in Russia, the man-made Holomodor famine in Ukraine, Mao’s disastrous Great Leap Forward collectivization, the paredon firing squads of Cuba, the Killing Fields of Cambodia, the Vietnamese boatpeople, Hungary in 1956, Prague in 1966, Tiananmen Square in 1989, and so on.

At first, I got supportive retweets. Some were from friends who have suffered personally from Marxism and lived to tell about it. One was from Rose Tang, a brave journalist who survived Tiananmen Square and whom I met in Hong Kong in the ’90s. Others were Cuban Americans and Russian Americans. They cover the political gamut. Rose can’t stand President Donald Trump, others like him.

Then something began happening that initially left me puzzled and bemused—then a little bit sad when I realized what it meant about some members of our present generation of youth.

Thousands—no exaggeration, thousands—of retweets and mentions began to pour in from young socialists and communists celebrating the murdering of landlords, bemoaning that a good bullet was wasted when rocks abounded, and even some telling me I was next.

My notifications began to blow up with these chilling messages throughout the day—and it hasn’t stopped yet. Just when I think the users have finished, a new cycle will pick up in the middle of the night and continue through the early morning and afternoon. It’s from around the globe, too.

One reason I was initially bemused is that most of the tweets are utter drivel—the memes these socialists employed were infantile, like this one with the little dog dancing because landlords were murdered—revealing a generation that has spent way too much time in front of video games and not enough reading good books, like “Animal Farm,” or better yet, “Lord of the Flies.”

They celebrated that they had “owned” me, because, you know, “ratio.”

Their responses not only revealed an alarming disregard for human life—they were also utterly ignorant of economics. An important theme was the supposed parasitic nature of landowners. This exposes yet again that they have not been taught the useful function of people who own and upkeep property so that those who cannot own it can have a place to live.

Or perhaps it exposed that far too many socialists have never met a landlord because they are living in their mother’s basement? Hard to say for sure.

But, of course, they never would have concluded that the very nature of owning anything was good, because they oppose the very concept of ownership to begin with. That was another of the themes that emerged in this exercise: To many of our hipster socialists, all “property” is “theft.”

Another theme was that capitalism has produced evils and suffering for the past 300 years, including slavery. I explained here last week how The New York Times has now joined that effort to indoctrinate our youth with this lie with its 1619 Project, which takes off where Howard Zinn and others have led.

And that’s just it. These kids have these views about property not because they’re Neolithic hunter-gatherers with no possessions, but because they have been taught these things by their professors.

The Martin Center explains here how schools of education have been radicalized. Parents have handed their bundles of joy over to ideologues who have reared them in these beliefs. Like the puppies that nearly killed Snowball.

It could be, of course, that some of my critics are Chinese or Russian bots—but the users I looked into seemed authentic. Social media expert Lyndsey Fifield, who manages the social media activities of The Heritage Foundation and The Daily Signal, tells me these events often are coordinated subtly but intentionally appear organic:

“Users know Twitter’s rules for abusive behavior—so instead of sending multiple tweets, prominent users will retweet content to mark it for attack,” Fifield explains, adding:

[D]ozens or hundreds of users who’d otherwise never see your content will begin spontaneously replying with mockery, liking other abusive tweets in the replies—all with the hope that they’re annoying you and making you think your views are in the minority. And if you respond in any way they will delight in doubling down.

So I was glad to ignore it, but many people noticed and were horrified. Users such as Rod Dreher and Amy Alkon, both of whom I respect, retweeted my tweet and urged others to simply read my replies to see what socialists in 2018 are really about.

Fifield says we should take heart—these tweets, she says, are not at all representative of what most Americans think. Although the rising popularity of socialism with young Americans is real, Twitter is where the most extreme spend their time.

Data suggests Fifield is right—Joe Berkowitz recently pointed out in Fast Company that surveys show that “Twitter users are younger, more likely to identify as Democrats, more highly educated, and have higher incomes than U.S. adults overall. Twitter users also differ from the broader population on some key social issues.”

So the woke minority is just that, a minority, as the Hidden Tribes of America project made clear here in 2018. They are mostly white, supercredentialed (not actually educated, though, obviously), and deeply entrenched in the culture.

It’s hard to believe such a coddled bunch represents a threat.

SOURCE 

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Democrats are wrong. Middle-class incomes surging – thanks to Trump policies

By Steve Moore

Democrats downplaying Trump's economic success
Reaction from University of Chicago economics professor Austan Goolsbee and Heritage Foundation economist Steve Moore.

The latest Census Bureau Current Population Survey data now show that middle-class incomes, after adjusting for inflation, have surged by $5,003 since Donald Trump became president in January 2017. Median household income has now reached $65,976 – an all-time high and up more than 8 percent in 2019 dollars under the Trump presidency.

This data was compiled by the statisticians at Sentier Research, an economic research group whose founders have more than 30 years of experience at the Census Bureau in analyzing the monthly income numbers.

I reported last week in the Wall Street Journal that real median family income had soared by $4,146 under Trump through July 2019. The just-released August numbers from Sentier show a huge monthly gain of $857 in income per household.

These numbers contrast sharply with the 16 years prior to Trump’s presidency. In the eight years that George W. Bush was president, median income barely showed any gain, up just $401 thanks to the deep recession of 2008.

In the seven and a half years that Barack Obama was president, and not including the end of the recession, which Obama inherited, incomes inched up by $1,043 (June 2009 – January 2019). This means that in the 16 years before the Trump presidency, incomes rose by about $1,500 while in less than three years middle incomes have risen three times faster.

The contrast is even sharper when measured on a monthy basis. The monthly rise in incomes under Bush was $4. That number was $11 under Obama and $161 under Trump.

These income numbers are PRE-TAX, so they do NOT include the impact of the Trump tax cut. The Heritage Foundation estimates that the average household has saved $1,400 a year on their federal taxes from the 2017 Trump tax cut. This means many working-class families now have a $6,000 higher after-tax, and after-inflation paycheck today.

These surges in income, especially in the last several months, have occurred at exactly the time when many liberal economists and media talking heads were shouting “recession.” In reality middle-class families were enjoying a near-unprecedented income windfall and “the gains in income levels in recent months,” Sentier reports, “have been accelerating.“

These surges in income, especially in the last several months, have occurred at exactly the time when many liberal economists and media talking heads were shouting “recession.”

These higher wage and salary incomes are no doubt related to the very tight labor market, which has given workers new bargaining power to ask for higher pay. Today there are more than seven million unfilled jobs in America – the highest number of surplus jobs in American history.

These latest income numbers also squarely contradict the claims by Democratic presidential candidates, such as former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who claim that all the gains from the Trump economy have gone to the rich and large corporations. Warren claimed earlier this year that workers had to work "two or three or four jobs" just to keep their incomes from falling.

No, this has been one of the biggest middle-class success stories in modern times, and it is a testament to the success of the Trump tax, regulatory and energy policies.

SOURCE 

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 

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Sunday, October 13, 2019



13 October, 2019

A YUGE win for Trump

Who else could have got ANY concession out of China? It was like getting blood out of a stone. It's not as extensive as many would like but it is real progress -- 100% more progress than anyone else has delivered. It also keeps faith with the US farm sector. Farmers mostly voted for Trump but have patiently borne losses from his trade war in hope of long term gains. The US agricultural sector has almost unlimited capacity so the huge new quotas will be a goldmine for them. American farmers will be saying: "I told you so".

Washington and Beijing have agreed to a ‘substantial’ interim trade deal, averting a tariff increase on Chinese goods that had been planned for October 15 and auguring an export windfall for US farmers, President Donald Trump said.

New York Post reports, the president’s announcement came during a meeting with Chinese trade negotiators in the Oval Office.

“Lots of respect for President Xi,” Trump told reporters of China’s leader, Xi Jinping. “We’ve had a tremendous negotiation, a very complex negotiation, but something that’s going to be great for both countries,” Trump said.

Ultimately, the deal is “a great thing for world peace,” he said at the end of his meeting with Beijing’s lead trade envoy, Vice Premier Liu He.

“You know there was a lot of friction between the United States and China and now it’s a love fest.”

Although the details still need to be committed to paper over the next four weeks — and then signed by both countries — the “phase one” agreement so far represents key concessions from Beijing.

It requires that over the next two years, Chinese imports from US farms will grow to an annual rate of US$40 billion (A$59 billion) to $50 billion. That’s more than double the previous high-point of $16 to $17 billion. Currently annual US farm exports to China are at $8 billion, Trump said.

“I’d suggest the farmers have to immediately go and buy more land, and get bigger tractors,” the president joked. He added, “I’m very excited for the farmer. There’s never been a deal of this magnitude for the American farmer.”

Liu also praised the accord. “We very much agreed to get to the China-US economic relationship right. It is something good for China, for the United States and for the whole world,” he told reporters at the White House. “We are making progress towards a positive direction.”

However, some observers said the deal was underwhelming. Greg Daco of Oxford Economics called it an “itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny handshake deal.”

Though it lays the foundation for a broader accord later, “behind the hype, this is nothing more than partial and ostensibly unsustainable deal lacking in real enforcement mechanisms,” he said in an analysis. “For businesses this will mean less damage, not greater certainty.”

The National Retail Federation said it was encouraged by the progress, adding, however: “Although this is a step in the right direction, the uncertainty continues.”

Trump also said the deal would make some steps toward protecting American technology, a major focus of the trade frictions.

An agreement has also been struck concerning currency and China opening its market to American financial services firms, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

Intellectual property protections for US companies that do business with China have also been agreed upon. “We have come to a deal on intellectual property,” Trump said.

SOURCE 

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Trump Moves to Increase Transparency in Government Regulations

Kevin Lunny and his family ran Drakes Bay Oyster Company for about 50 years on the Northern California coastline before the federal government shut down the business over regulations he wasn’t aware of.

“We produced nearly half of all the sustainable oysters in Northern California,” Lunny said Wednesday at the White House, before President Donald Trump signed two executive orders to prevent federal agencies from regulatory abuse.

“The National Park Service forced our oyster farm out of business,” Lunny said. “If that wasn’t enough for our family and our community, today the rest of agriculture, which includes another 24 ranchers and family farm businesses within the National Seashore, are facing the exact same process.”

In 2011, the Interior Department rejected a permit for the business to continue operation, despite action by Congress to grandfather protection for aquaculture companies in the Point Reyes Wilderness Act.

The agency argued in court that it had wide discretion to grant or deny permits.

Lunny’s battle to save the family’s oyster business ended in 2014, when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the government.

One of Trump’s executive orders, titled “Bringing Guidance Out of the Darkness,” prohibits federal agencies from bypassing the cost-benefit analysis and avoiding public comment—both required when agencies adopt a regulation.

Another executive order, titled “Transparency and Fairness,” protects Americans from unlawful interpretations of existing regulations, or from unexpected penalties. Agencies would be required to proactively educate the public before imposing costly fines.

As Lunny began to walk away from the lectern, Trump asked: “Is the business gone now?”

Lunny answered: “The business is gone, 20 million oysters destroyed.”

“No American should ever face such persecution from their own government, except for the president,” Trump said. “Don’t feel bad, Kevin. They treated you better than they treat me.”

The president said the White House would monitor enforcement of the new orders.

“Americans will no longer be subject to the hidden games that are played on the public,” he said.

During the Obama administration, federal agencies imposed thousands of mandates through blog posts, letters, brochures, and thousands of other publications, according to the White House.

Also speaking at the event was Andy Johnson, a Wyoming rancher whom the Environmental Protection Agency threatened with a $16 million fine for trying to build a pond on his own property.

After the story made national news, the EPA settled, agreeing not to fine the rancher and allowing him to keep the pond without obtaining a permit.

Trump had noted the case in 2017 when he ordered the EPA to reform the Obama administration’s Waters of the United States regulation.

“Today we are making a major step forward in the effort to drain the swamp and to get our arms wrapped around the administrative state,” Russ Vought, acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said at the event.

Vought added:

We can’t do that until we know all the dark, regulatory, stealth regulation that is out there. That is one of the reasons we are asking all of the agencies to put on their website, in a searchable way, all of these regulations so that we can understand what [the situation] is. Anything that is not put up there is rescinded. Secondly, we want to make sure the American people, families and small businesses, are not bullied by their government.

The Army Corps of Engineers determined in 2016 that permafrost covering about one-third of the state of Alaska met the definition of  “navigable waters,” which prevented the planned expansion of Tin Cup, LLC, a small, family-owned pipe fabrication business in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Tin Cup owner Richard Schok spoke about his situation, in which the Army Corps relied on the “Alaska Supplement” to the agency’s 1987 Wetlands Manual.

However, the supplemental material never was delivered to Congress as required by the Congressional Review Act. The pipe company argued in court that the rule was never in effect.

However, the 9th Circuit sided with the government and the Supreme Court this year declined to take the case.

“President Trump is achieving more on regulatory reform than many thought possible,” Anthony Campau, a visiting fellow in regulatory policy at The Heritage Foundation, said in a written statement.

Campau previously oversaw many Trump administration regulatory reforms as chief of staff for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a division of OMB.

“The president is demonstrating that regulatory reform in the Trump administration isn’t just about dollars and cents; it is also about securing liberty through the continued advancement of good government principles like fair notice, transparency, accountability, and decision-making grounded in analysis,” Campou added.

SOURCE 

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Bernie Sanders And Elizabeth Warren Mistake Money For Wealth

It’s often said about 1960s and 70s Wall Street that a stockbroker could leave for lunch heavily in debt, only to return an hour later rolling in cash. Such was life in the financial world of a few decades ago. So high were commissions on stock trades that a big order placed with a licensed sales assistant or colleague manning the desk could make the stockbroker’s day, and sometimes year.

No doubt stories like that were traded between Wall Street veterans and newbies this past week. With the announcement that Charles Schwab and Ameritrade would no longer charge commissions on stock trades, yet another formerly expensive act was essentially reduced to zero.

Notable about Schwab’s decision was that it in a very real sense was inevitable. In a capitalistic society, the capitalists get rich by mass producing former luxuries, and relentlessly pushing down the prices of everything. Along similar lines, airplane flying was prohibitively expensive at the same time that buying and selling shares was. This rates mention since in the same week that Schwab and Ameritrade made their announcements, so did Southwest Airlines promote $49/one way sales. The Southwest fare sale is a reminder that within ten years private flight will be increasingly enjoyed by everyday Americans. Within twenty years, it will be very much the norm thanks to enterprising individuals who will earn billions for freeing us all from the TSA frustration. Bank on it.

All of this came to mind while reading a front page New York Times story by Alan Rappeport and Thomas Kaplan about Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and their proposed wealth tax. The Times writers explained it this way:

"As they compete for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont have proposed wealth taxes that would shrink the fortunes of the richest Americans. Their plans envision an enormous transfer of money from the wealthy to ordinary people, with revenue from the wealth tax used to finance new social programs like tuition-free college, universal child care and 'Medicare for all.'"

The Dems’ error is in presuming that money and wealth are one and the same. No, they’re not. Money is just an agreement about value that facilitates the exchange of actual wealth. Money is what governments can produce, while wealth is what we produce. If money were wealth, as opposed to a certain consequence of wealth, poverty could be stamped out with ease.

Warren, Sanders, and others vying for the favor of Democratic voters forget that a dollar in the hands of Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell is nothing like a dollar in the hands of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett; the three richest Americans the individuals who would likely pay the most if a wealth tax were instituted. And while imposing a tax and collecting on it are two entirely different things (much as money and wealth are), that’s a column for another day.

For now, it’s worth thinking about people like Bezos and Gates, along with what someone like Buffett does when allocating capital. While it used to be that only the richest of the rich had access to the world’s production, and only after incredibly expansive travel around the world, Bezos democratized access. Nowadays anyone can purchase the world’s plenty, at prices that continue to fall, all with a click of a mouse.

In Gates’s case, he attended elite Lakeside School in Seattle. This rates mention because Seattle’s fanciest school had incredibly primitive (by today’s standards) computers that students could utilize. Gates was an eager user. Readers can rest assured that computers weren’t the norm in Seattle schools back in the late ‘70s, or anywhere else for that matter. And that’s the point.

Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell and others turned nose-bleed expensive computers and the software that gives them life into common goods. Getting into specifics, all three grew incredibly rich by virtue of mass producing former luxuries that once could only be found in the vicinity of the rich and their offspring.

Buffett comes in as the investor whose capital allocations made and make all this possible. Investment is all about the production of more and more goods and services at costs that continuously shrink. Without investors willing to back dreamers like Gates, Jobs and Dell, economic advance grounds to a halt.

So with it hopefully established that individuals get rich by virtue of them democratizing access to formerly unattainable goods and services, while cheapening others (that Charles Schwab is a billionaire is a major-league redundancy), it’s useful to pivot back to the Dems’ tax plan. They want to take money from the rich in order to give it to those who aren’t.

The problem is that no one wants money, they only want what money can be exchanged for. Think about it. Crucial here is that a dollar today is exchangeable for exponentially more goods and services versus decades ago, not to mention that it commands goods and services that very few (rich or poor) could have imagined decades ago. Translated, Sanders, Warren et al want to take from the very people who got rich by powerfully improving the living standards of the poor and middle class through copious production of what was formerly out-of-reach for those same individuals. You can’t make this up!

To be clear, this is not a piece about incentives, and taxes blunting incentives. With the entrepreneurial, there’s an argument that tax rates don’t much inform what they do. But availability of capital most certainly does inform what they do.

This is important as Dems’ wax rhapsodical about the $2.6 trillion that economists Emmanual Saez and Gabriel Zucman promise a wealth tax will raise. Ok, but so what? It’s not the $2.6 trillion that matters, it’s once again what it can be exchanged for. And in shrinking the amount of capital that could be directed toward innovators (what can inheritors or producers of great wealth do but thankfully invest it?), the Dems will slow the process whereby the poor and middle class will be able to attain goods and services previously unattainable for anyone.

Translated, the Democrats in their parallel universe are bragging about plans to shrink by trillions the investment that would vastly improve the lives of the presumed "have nots." All to give them “money.” Except that money has exponentially fewer uses minus the genius of the individuals (and yes, heirs) they choose to neuter. Something to think about.

SOURCE 

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IN BRIEF

PRIVACY ABUSE: "Some of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's electronic surveillance activities violated the constitutional privacy rights of Americans swept up in a controversial foreign intelligence program, a secretive surveillance court has ruled." (The Wall Street Journal)

MORON: "The CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods told CBS News this weekend that his decisions to stop selling certain guns and hire lobbyists to push for new gun bans have cost his company roughly $250 million. ... [Ed] Stack also said the company destroyed $5 million worth of rifle inventory because Stack believed no one should be allowed to own them." (The Washington Free Beacon)

DEBAUCHERY: The U.S. saw a record 2.4 million reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. News & World Report)

MIGRANT ARRESTS: Most illegal crossings in 12 years: Border Patrol took 851,000 into custody during fiscal 2019 (Washington Examiner)

MASS. HEALTH COSTS:  Statewide health care spending grew to an estimated $60.9 billion in 2018, or $8,827 per person, according to the study from the state Center for Health Information and Analysis. That’s a 3.1 percent increase from the previous year and in line with the state benchmark for controlling spending. But costs for patients and consumers rose more quickly. For individuals with private insurance, out-of-pocket costs increased 6.1 percent and premiums rose 5.2 percent over the past two years, outpacing wages and inflation. In addition, more Massachusetts residents signed up for high-deductible health plans. -- Boston Globe

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here

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Friday, October 11, 2019



Study: Dem Tax Policy Driven by Hatred for Rich

Envy and retribution are poor foundations for crafting public policy 

“Hatred is like drinking poison and then waiting for it to kill your enemy.” —quote attributed to South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela

Last month, the Cato Institute released its 2019 Welfare, Work, and Wealth National Survey, and it offers a fascinating insight into the motives of those demanding ever higher taxes on the productive class in America.

The study surveyed 1,700 Americans to determine why some support socialism, tax increases on the wealthy, and wealth redistribution; is it compassion or resentment?

To determine compassion, they were asked if they agreed or disagreed with statements like “I suffer from others’ sorrows,” or “I feel sympathy for those who are worse off than myself.” To measure resentment toward successful people, they were asked if they agreed/disagreed with statements like “Very successful people sometimes need to be brought down a peg or two even if they’ve done nothing wrong,” or “It’s good to see very successful people fail occasionally.”

The study found resentment toward successful people is a far stronger motivator than compassion for the poor when it comes to support for raising taxes on high earners.

This philosophy of hatred for high achievers is rampant within the modern Democrat Party, evidenced by how the frontrunners for the 2020 presidential nomination are eagerly promising to punish the wealthy.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for an additional 2% tax on the wealth of all households with incomes over $50 million. To be clear, this is not a tax on new income, but on all wealth accumulated over a lifetime — investments, savings, assets, inheritance, etc., which has already been subject to income taxes, payroll taxes, capital gains taxes, property taxes, etc.

The 16th Amendment was ratified on the promise that it would only punish the ultra-rich, but today it impacts every American. Warren promises her new tax will only hurt the very wealthy, but past experience shows us it won’t be long before government agents are digging through our homes, assessing the value of the wedding ring grandma passed down so we can be taxed on it.

Not to be outdone, cranky septuagenarian socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (who owns three homes in upscale areas of Vermont and DC) is calling for even more Americans to be taxed at higher rates, with a 1% tax on net worth above $32 million, topping out at 8% for those with assets over $8 billion. He has also proposed a new tax on corporations based on the wage gap between CEO pay and that of the median worker.

This is wrong as a matter of sound tax policy, and it is morally reprehensible.

As a matter of tax policy, it has been tried and it has failed. Higher taxes lead to lower productivity, a shrinking economy, and less prosperity. Those most in need suffer the most because the wealthy have plenty of ways to shield their money from confiscatory tax rates, including simply moving, as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo discovered the hard way.

For Democrats, taxes aren’t about raising revenue for the legitimate functions of government. For them, taxes are about “leveling the playing field,” ending “income inequality,” and making the rich “pay their fair share.”

Barack Obama was a master at stoking class hatred, inciting poor and middle-income Americans to support punishing the “rich,” even if that meant hurting themselves.

In 2008, ABC’s Charlie Gibson noted that Obama was calling for a doubling of the capital-gains tax rate, but pointed out that “in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased; the government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down… So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?”

Obama refused to back down, declaring that (even if it meant less tax revenue to fund programs for the poor and needy) he would do it “for purposes of fairness.”

Fairness for whom? The more than five million small-business owners who risked their life savings to start a business, worked 70-80 hour weeks for years to make it successful, employing tens of millions of their fellow Americans in the process, only to be hammered by taxes as a “reward” for their hard work, dedication, and sacrifice? How is it “fair” or moral to punish someone for working harder, working smarter, being more innovative, sacrificing more, and risking more than their neighbor?

The beauty of the free market is that, in order for someone to become a millionaire or billionaire, they must provide a good or service that millions of people desire. In a true free market, you simply can’t get wealthy without improving the lives of countless others.

Bernie Sanders declares his view that “There should be no billionaires.” But would Americans truly be better off if Sam Walton had not revolutionized commerce with his high-volume, low-margin model that allows tens of millions of Americans to afford goods previously out of reach? Would Americans today be happier without iPhones? Would we be better off without the millions of jobs created thanks to Bill Gates and his Windows software?

Would we be better off without these millionaires and billionaires?

No. So why punish them, and ourselves in the process?

SOURCE 

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Trump Declines Dems' Invitation to Impeachment Hoax

President Donald Trump is done playing the Democrats' impeachment game. On Tuesday, the White House sent an eight-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Reps. Adam Schiff, Eliot Engel, and Elijah Cummings essentially telling them to put up or shut up. The letter highlighted the fact that Pelosi and Democrats have violated the Constitution, "the rule of law, and every past precedent" in their politically partisan quest to see Trump impeached. The letter, written by Trump attorney Pat Cipollone, bluntly exposes the Democrats' true political motivation:

Put simply, you seek to overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the American people of the President they have freely chosen. Many Democrats now apparently view impeachment not only as a means to undo the democratic results of the last election, but as a strategy to influence the next election, which is barely more than a year away. As one member of Congress explained, he is "concerned that if we don't impeach the President, he will get reelected." Your highly partisan and unconstitutional effort threatens grave and lasting damage to our democratic institutions, to our system of free elections, and to the American people.

Cipollone asserts that Pelosi and company's impeachment inquiry is invalid because no vote was held in the House or even in a House committee to initiate the current inquiry. Instead, Pelosi unilaterally "announced an 'official impeachment inquiry.'" Cipollone writes, "Your contrived process is unprecedented in the history of the Nation, and lacks the necessary authorization for a valid impeachment proceeding."

As a result of Pelosi's invalid initiation of an impeachment inquiry, Cipollone points out that Trump's due-process rights have been violated. While Democrat-led committees subpoena White House officials demanding compliance under threats of obstruction charges, Trump on the other hand is denied the right to confront witnesses against him, to call his own witnesses, and "to have the assistance of counsel." All of those things would be afforded him if Pelosi were to actually hold a House vote to officially launch an impeachment inquiry.

The letter concludes, "The President cannot allow your constitutionally illegitimate proceedings to distract him and those in the Executive Branch from their work on behalf of the American people."

Predictably, Pelosi responded with her own letter alleging that Trump is the one guilty of trying "to normalize lawlessness," ridiculously adding that "he is trying to make lawlessness a virtue." And once again Pelosi vacuously asserts that Trump's "actions threaten our national security, violate our Constitution and undermine the integrity of our elections." She further asserts that the White House is engaged in a "cover-up" of Trump's "betrayal of our democracy." It will be interesting to see if Pelosi moves forward with an impeachment vote, or if she continues to drag out her lawless charade.

SOURCE 

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McConnell Turning Tables on Democrat Impeachers

"The way that impeachment stops is with a Senate majority with me as majority leader."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sees it for what it is, and the upper chamber of Congress, which will try President Donald Trump if and when the House ever gets around to impeaching him, will prove to be the sane chamber. In a campaign video, McConnell says that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “in the clutches of a left-wing mob that finally convinced her to impeach the president.” However, he adds. “The way that impeachment stops is with a Senate majority with me as majority leader.”

McConnell must firmly believe that there is not enough evidence to oust Trump or he wouldn’t assert this far in advance that the Senate will kill the effort. He’s also clearly hanging this political charade around Democrat necks.

On a final note, Democrats have, for effect, compared the proposed Trump impeachment with that of Richard Nixon — but there is a BIG difference and it betrays a remarkable double standard.

Nixon was rightly impeached and resigned because he attempted to conceal the fact that operatives within his administration used FBI and CIA personnel to uncover what they believed were communist influencers in the Democrat Party. That was exposed with the botched attempt to steal DNC files from its office in the Watergate building — though, notably, Nixon was not orchestrating these tactics.

However, in the case of both the 2016 Russia-collusion hoax and the current Ukraine quid-pro-quo hoax, Democrats are the ones using deep-state operatives within the FBI and CIA to frame a sitting president to obstruct his agenda across the board. Don’t wait on The Washington Post to devote six months of headlines to the Democrat deep-state conspiracy.

SOURCE 

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Ten Hours of Testimony for nothing
 
Kurt Volker, the former U.S. envoy to Ukraine, testified on Capitol Hill Thursday for nearly 10 hours. He was one of the first witnesses deposed in the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

I’m pretty sure that if our brave men and women at Gitmo interrogated a jihadist for ten hours, the left would be yelling that it was torture. But that didn’t stop Democrats from interrogating Volker for ten hours.

And, of course, they did it behind closed doors, presumably because they were touching on classified subjects. Or maybe they just didn’t want the American people to hear what Volker had to say. I suspect it was the latter because Republicans came out of the hearing unfazed.

Rep. Jim Jordan, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told reporters that “not one thing [Volker] said comports with any of the Democrats’ impeachment narrative. Not one thing.”

Rep. Adam Schiff left the hearing and told reporters that he had no comment. Schiff’s silence speaks volumes. If Volker’s testimony had been damaging to Trump, Schiff would have had plenty to say.

SOURCE 

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Surprise Medical Billing Must Be Stopped

Have you ever had this happen to you? You or a loved one gets sick, you check and double-check your insurance and find a provider in your insurance network, make an appointment and see that provider. You pay the co-pays and pick up the drugs the doctor prescribed. All seems fine until weeks later, you get an unexpected, and very expensive, bill for services you thought your insurance provider covered. This is called surprise medical billing, and if it has happened to you, you’re far from alone.

Here’s how it works: People go into facilities that are in their insurance network. In fact, if you’re like me you’ll call your insurance provider or at least check its website to make sure the facility is in-network so you won’t get slapped with charges above and beyond the premiums, co-pays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, which already add up to a lot of money.

Even when patients are told that yes, this facility is in-network, they often get a surprise bill after the fact. The bill says that while the facility was covered, one of the medical providers was not, and patients are expected to make up the difference. How was the patient even supposed to know that? Medical insurance companies want to pretend they’re entirely innocent in the shady practice known as surprise medical billing. They’re not.

This happens far more often than you might imagine. According to a study by Stanford University, almost 40 percent of American patients have been hit by surprise medical billing.

This may technically be legal, but it is unfair and unjust and in extreme cases can turn even fairly routine illness into a financial crisis. It’s not an overstatement to say that the existence of widespread practices like this one call the entire American medical system’s legitimacy into question.

America’s health insurance companies say that this is not their fault. They point out that equity firms have bought up a lot of medical practices and have driven billing costs up. The message is: blame the other guy.

They’re not wrong and this is a problem, but it’s not the whole story. American insurance companies are Goliaths who want to pretend to be Davids. The five largest insurance companies will generate more revenue in 2019 than the five biggest tech companies according to Axios.

In forging their agreements with medical facilities, American insurance companies have created a problem for us, known as “skinny networks.” These are networks that are not broad enough to meet the needs of all of their clients.

To a certain extent, this is understandable. People come to doctors and other medical specialists with a wide variety of problems. Even a diligent insurance company can only foresee so many problems and thus only strike a deal with so many problem-solvers.

But really, when, let’s say, most anesthesiologists or many emergency room doctors are not covered by a network agreement, whose fault is that? It’s clear that while equity firms are not making the problem any better, health insurance companies share a portion of the blame for surprise billing as well. Patients really have no way of anticipating the after-doctor sticker shock.

The best solution would be to make sure, first of all, that this is not the patients’ problem and, second, that no party – not insurance companies, not private practitioners, not medical facilities, not equity firms – has the power to lord it over the others.

A bill in Congress called the STOP Surprise Medical Bills Act would stop surprise medical billing. Rather than arguing about blame for what has gone wrong, it would simply force all the parties to fix the problem and not trouble patients about it.

When bills come to the insurance company that are out of network, rather than pass that bill on to you, the insurance company would be required to enter into binding arbitration with that provider, and hammer out a deal.

This approach has been tried in New York and it has already saved thousands and thousands of people from the national plague of surprise medical billing. Congress should replicate this success story for all American patients.

SOURCE 

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IN BRIEF

UKRAINE PROBE: "A newly unearthed document shows that Ukrainian officials had opened a new probe into the firm linked to Hunter Biden months before President Trump's phone call with that country's leader." (Fox News)

COSTLY INSURANCE UNDER OBAMACARE: "Health insurance now costs the average American family over $20,000 annually, according to a recent survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The foundation’s chief executive, Drew Altman, noted, “It’s as much as buying a basic economy car, but buying it every year.” Bloomberg reports, “While employers pay most of the cost of coverage, according to the survey, workers’ average contribution is now $6,000 for a family plan. That’s just their share of upfront premiums, and doesn’t include co-payments, deductibles and other forms of cost-sharing once they need care.” -- Patriot Post

NOKO STATUS QUO: "Working-level nuclear talks in Sweden between officials from Pyongyang and Washington have broken off, North Korea's top negotiator said late on Saturday, dashing prospects for an end to months of stalemate." (Reuters)

NARRATIVE BUSTER: Women and minorities are fueling an increase in concealed-handgun permits (John Lott)

TOO LITTLE TOO LATE: Bloomberg Law finally retracts its false and misleading "anti-Semitic" story involving Department of Labor official Leif Olson (The Volokh Conspiracy)

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here

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